Following the announcement of the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship field of 64 on Sunday, Diane Turnham, the tournament selection committee chairperson, took a few minutes to answer questions generated through the NCAA’s Facebook page. For additional information regarding criteria about the RPI, the Appendix H of the Pre Championships Manual can be referenced and the latest RPI rankings can be found here.
Q: How is the No. 1 seed determined and then the top 16?
A: The committee uses the selection criteria to determine all 16 teams that are seeded in the tournament. The committee evaluates all the teams throughout selection weekend, and takes into account the results of competition that is still occurring. The selection criteria includes head to head competition, win/loss record, results against common opponents, results of the RPI, and input from regional advisory committees.
Q: What is the role RPI plays in seeding teams? How is it different than the coaches’ poll?
A: The RPI is one factor in the selection criteria. The coaches’ poll is based off of the votes of the DI volleyball coaches. The coaches do not necessarily have to use the NCAA selection criteria when placing their votes.
Q: How did so many highly ranked teams land in the same Region? What is considered for Regional placement of teams?
A: The “ranking” that is being referred to is that of the coaches’ poll. The coaches’ poll is not a piece of the selection criteria that the committee uses when selecting the teams to the tournament. The committee places the seeded teams in the bracket according to the bracketing policies approved by the Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet. The top 16 seeds are guaranteed to host if they have submitted a bid that meets the requirements. Once the sites have been established, the committee places teams in the bracket based on geographic proximity, while also avoiding first- and second-round conference matchups. The regional site locations are determined by where that host team is in the bracket, if they are selected to the tournament. This year all four of the regional hosts were selected to the tournament.
Q: How much consideration was given to limit travel? (i.e., Why was Yale sent to Hawaii?)
A: One of the factors of bracketing is to have the minimum number of flights possible. However, with that being said, the committee also allows the top 16 seeds to host if they have met bid specifications. This means that some teams will have to fly across the country due to the location of our seeds.
Q: Why are no Pac-12 Teams seeded in the top five, despite their higher AVCA Coaches Poll rankings throughout the year?
A: The committee looks at the whole body of work when evaluating the teams selected to the tournament. The ranking of a team in the coaches’ poll is not a factor in the committees selection criteria.
Q: Why doesn’t the selection committee use the latest coaches’ poll and seed every team? For example, the top four get a No. 1 seed for each regional, next four get a No. 2 seed and so on to split up the brackets. Should limit the “stacking” of one regional.
A: The committee follows the selection, seeding and bracketing policies that are established. Per those policies a non-revenue generating championship (i.e. Division I Women’s Volleyball) is allowed to seed 25 percent of the bracket. Hence the reason that 16 teams are seeded in the Division I volleyball bracket.